The Lining of the Patch-Work Screen, by Jane Barker

Considerations out of Mr. Dyke's Book.

What is Man! Originally Dust, ingender'd in Sin, brought forth in Sorrow, helpless in his Infancy, giddy in his Youth, extravagant in his Manhood, and decrepit in his Age. His first Voice moves Pity, his last, Sorrow.

He is at his first coming into the World, the most helpless of all Creatures: For Nature cloaths the Beasts with Hair, the Birds with Feathers, the Fish with Scales: But Man is born naked; his Hands cannot handle, his Feet cannot walk, his Tongue cannot speak, his Eyes cannot see, nor his Ears hear, to any Use. The Beasts come into the World without Noise, and go to their Dug without help: Man, as soon as born, extends his little Voice, and crys for assistance; afterwards, he is simple in his Thoughts, vain in his Desires, and Toys are his Delight. He no sooner puts on his distinguishing Character Reason, but he burns it with the Wildfire of Passion, and disguises it with Pride, tears it with Revenge, sullies it with Avarice, and stains it with Debauchery.

His next Station, is a State of Misery; Fears torment him, Hopes distract him, Cares perplex him, Enemies assault him, Friends betray, Thieves rob, Wrongs oppress, Dangers way−lay him.

His last Scene deplorable; his Eyes dim, his Ears deaf, his Hands feeble, Feet lame, Sinews shrunk, Bones dry, his Days full of Sorrow, his Nights of Pain, his Life miserable, his Death terrible.

AGAIN,

Man is a Tennis−Ball of Fortune, a Shuttle−cock of Folly, a Mark for Malice. If poor, despis'd; if rich, flatter'd; if prudent, not trusted; if simple, derided. He is born crying, lives laughing, dies groaning.

Ah me, said Galecia to her self, how many melancholy Truths, this Learned Man has set down; yet all but common to our Nature. How many more are there extraordinary, and particular to each Person, caus'd by their Passions, Follies, or Misfortune, such as would render Life insupportable, were it not for the Hopes of a Happy Futurity. Then, O gracious Heaven, let that Hope abide, support, and increase in me, till, Fruition crown this my Expectation: For here is no Happiness to be found; for whether we look behind or before us, on the right hand or on the left, or round about us, we find nothing but Distress, Distractions, Quarrels, Broils, Debts, Duels, Law−suits, Tricks, Cheats, Taxes, Tumults, Mobs, Riots, Mutinies, Rebellions, Battels, &c. where thousands are slain; nay, we make Slaughter a Study, and War an Art. Are we not then more irrational than Brutes, who endeavour to preserve their own kind, and protect their own Species? For that poor dirty Creature a Swine, a Beast which seems extreamly careless, with its Head always prone to the Earth; yet if any of its Kind cry, the whole Herd, run grunting to it, as if it were to assist the distressed, or at least, to compassionate their Fellow−Creature in its Sufferings. But, if two Boys quarrel, and fight, the Men will stand by and abett the Quarrel, till Blood and broken Bones succeed; and amongst the Gentry, Quarrels arise of much worse consequence.

In these Cogitations our Galecia sate, till Morpheus accosted her, and with his leaden Rod, stretch'd over her Temples, she leaned back in her Chair, and sleeping, had the following Dream.

http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/b/barker/jane/lining/chapter15.html

Last updated Wednesday, March 12, 2014 at 13:31